Football: Sweden edge Portugal in penalty shoot-out to claim first U21 Euro crown

Sweden's goalkeeper Patrik Carlgren in action.
Sweden's goalkeeper Patrik Carlgren in action.PHOTO: EPA

PRAGUE (AFP/REUTERS) - Goalkeeper Patrik Carlgren saved two penalties in a shoot-out to lead Sweden to victory over Portugal and their first European Under-21 title on Tuesday.

The AIK Stockholm stopper sent a vociferous yellow-clad crowd at Prague's Eden stadium into raptures when he saved attempts by Ricardo Esgaio and William Carvalho for a 4-3 win in the shoot-out following a goalless draw after extra time.

Carlgren was elated at his country's success. He told "It's insane, completely insane to win a Euro championship. We're writing Swedish history. It was a fantastic match from beginning to end. We knew they'd have a lot of the ball, but we played one hell of a match."

Of William Carvalho's decisive spot kick, he added: "I had a feeling he'd go for that side, I went the right way and saved the penalty."

Portugal had swept past Germany 5-0 in the semi-final, but Sweden's defence proved a harder nut to crack.

Playing their first under-21 final since 1994, Portugal looked the better side for much of the game, with winger Esgaio driving an early shot wide of the left-hand post and captain Sergio Oliveira crashing a free kick against the bar.

The Swedes battled their way into the game, creating a few half-chances of their own but often conceding possession for long periods to their more skilful opponents.

Undaunted, Sweden almost took the lead at the start of the second half, striker John Guidetti firing narrowly over the bar, but they were soon spending much of the game on the back foot again, with Portugal dictating the tempo until they tired late on.

Guidetti almost snatched a later winner for the Swedes but he missed a glorious chance and the final whistle went with the game still scoreless and the half-hour of extra time failed to produce a goal to separate the sides.

Each team converted three penalties before Carlgren saved from FC Porto's Toze. Portugal's stopper Jose Sa, who had conceded one goal in five games in the tournament, then saved midfielder Abdullah Khalili's effort.

Both sides converted their next spot kicks before Carlgren saved Carvalho's penalty, triggering scenes of wild jubilation among the thousands of Swedish fans.